T Nation

Empty Calories

So, being a rather skinny ectomorph, I started bulking up last week. My goal is to gain 10 lbs in 10 weeks, which according to the articles is possible if I eat 20 calories per pound of bodyweight. I’ve been keeping a log, and today is my one week mark. I’m pretty excited.

Almost all of my calories have come from eating right. A lot of protein, I do a lot of cooking, drink a protein shake, and I try to keep a little variety in each day and it’s working. BUT I wanted your opinion on empty calories, like soda. I don’t drink very much, and so far I haven’t been putting them in my calorie log, but if I miss my mark for a day by, say, a couple hundred calories (for me my daily goal is 2800), what do you think? Does a can of soda have any redeemable contribution to a daily goal?

Thanks

A soda contains calories, so drinking them will put on weight. The problem is that consuming a lot of “empty” calories will generally lead to fat gain. That doesn’t mean you have to be super strict with what you eat, just dont eat a ton of junk.

If you have a problem getting 2800 calories in a day, you’re doing something wrong. That isn’t very much food at all.

If you are a young guy around 140 lbs, working out and trying to gain weight quickly, 2800 calories does seem low. 4000 or more would probably be a good target.

Bulking generally gives more leeway than cutting in terms of exactly what foods you should avoid. Not all of your calories have to come from the best sources, but I would put soda very far down the list because of the carbonation and acid. It’s bad for your bones and joints, contributes to a feeling of fullness in my experience, and also seems to make you feel weak.

Consider better options like nuts, whole milk, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, fruit, or jerky. Also, make sure to get good carbs into your meals as well like rice, potatoes, and whole wheat pasta. Those are important for bulking.

[quote]Silyak wrote:
If you are a young guy around 140 lbs, working out and trying to gain weight quickly, 2800 calories does seem low. 4000 or more would probably be a good target.

[/quote]

4000 seems like a ton for someone 140 pounds with (likely) very little muscle. I’d say 2800 is a much better starting point, especially since he says he’s having trouble even eating that much, I’m sure that means it’s significantly higher than what he was eating. Better to start around there, and then adjust based on the progress he is making. If gaining (mostly good) weight, excellent. If not gaining weight, bump it up. If gaining too much fat, decrease it a little.

I agree with the rest of your post btw.

Thanks guys, I appreciate it. Yeah, growing up I’ve always eaten very little so 2800 is a fairly big adjustment for me. I’ll keep track of it though and start thinking about bumping it up, especially after a couple weeks when the routine has set in (like I said, I’ve only been at this for a week).

@ Hattusili
if you are not ready for honesty, stop reading this post.

I am tall, slim, 55 yo and the problem is you are not a candidate to get big fast, most are not.
If you realign your goals to reality it will be much better.
10 pounds in 25 weeks would be more realistic.
Focussing on a few cals is showing you need to learn wich is not a problem if you stop daydreaming.
All the best !

[quote]BHappy wrote:
@ Hattusili
if you are not ready for honesty, stop reading this post.

I am tall, slim, 55 yo and the problem is you are not a candidate to get big fast, most are not.
If you realign your goals to reality it will be much better.
10 pounds in 25 weeks would be more realistic.
Focussing on a few cals is showing you need to learn wich is not a problem if you stop daydreaming.
All the best ![/quote]

No. Ten pounds in ten weeks is definately do able. And he’s not gonna be “big fast” at 150 fucking pounds. Also OP, I’d put sugary stuff low on the list, eat something like pizza or burgers for extra cals if you really need it. Milk is also a really easy way to get extra calories.

[quote]Mtag666 wrote:

[quote]BHappy wrote:
@ Hattusili
if you are not ready for honesty, stop reading this post.

I am tall, slim, 55 yo and the problem is you are not a candidate to get big fast, most are not.
If you realign your goals to reality it will be much better.
10 pounds in 25 weeks would be more realistic.
Focussing on a few cals is showing you need to learn wich is not a problem if you stop daydreaming.
All the best ![/quote]

No. Ten pounds in ten weeks is definately do able. And he’s not gonna be “big fast” at 150 fucking pounds. Also OP, I’d put sugary stuff low on the list, eat something like pizza or burgers for extra cals if you really need it. Milk is also a really easy way to get extra calories.[/quote]

Just ignore BHappy

[quote]Gmoore17 wrote:

[quote]Mtag666 wrote:

[quote]BHappy wrote:
@ Hattusili
if you are not ready for honesty, stop reading this post.

I am tall, slim, 55 yo and the problem is you are not a candidate to get big fast, most are not.
If you realign your goals to reality it will be much better.
10 pounds in 25 weeks would be more realistic.
Focussing on a few cals is showing you need to learn wich is not a problem if you stop daydreaming.
All the best ![/quote]

No. Ten pounds in ten weeks is definately do able. And he’s not gonna be “big fast” at 150 fucking pounds. Also OP, I’d put sugary stuff low on the list, eat something like pizza or burgers for extra cals if you really need it. Milk is also a really easy way to get extra calories.[/quote]

Just ignore BHappy[/quote]

Yea the more I see his posts around here that seems to be the best course of action.